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Publisher's Summary

Some 25 centuries after the Buddha started teaching, his message continues to inspire people across the globe, including those living in predominantly secular societies. What does it mean to adapt religious practices to secular contexts? Stephen Batchelor, an internationally known author and teacher, is committed to a secularized version of the Buddha's teachings. The time has come, he feels, to articulate a coherent, ethical, contemplative, and philosophical vision of Buddhism for our age.
After Buddhism, the culmination of four decades of study and practice in the Tibetan, Zen, and Theravada traditions, is his attempt to set the record straight about who the Buddha was and what he was trying to teach. Combining critical readings of the earliest canonical texts with narrative accounts of five members of the Buddha's inner circle, Batchelor depicts the Buddha as a pragmatic ethicist rather than a dogmatic metaphysician. He envisions Buddhism as a constantly evolving culture of awakening whose perpetual survival is due to its capacity to reinvent itself and interact creatively with each society it encounters. This original and provocative book presents a new framework for understanding the remarkable spread of Buddhism in today's globalized world. It also reminds us of what was so startling about the Buddha's vision of human flourishing.
©2015 Stephen Batchelor (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Christopher F. Wilson on 12-20-15

Eye opening

Sorry to say this is pretty deep into the canon for a new follower of the path. Liked learning how real life of Gotama differed from life suggested by Hesse in Siddhartha. Liked seeing an approach to the teachings that treats women and adherents versus monks equal in opportunity. Liked seeing how doctrine fits with day by day work and life of a householder and not just with monastics and monks in forests. Quite learned, well researched, and well presented. Not for those with ADD or limited interest in dharma. Thanks for lots of useful information.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joseph on 02-13-16

must listen for all traditions

Excellent review of the historical Buddha. In addition, this book is invaluable for a deeper, or new, understanding of layordination and/or the western practice of Buddhism in general.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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4 out of 5 stars
By McArtin on 04-13-16

great insight

a great insight - but I struggled with Stephen's narration - I would have preferred a better reader

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By eggnutter on 12-27-17

review

In parts this book was very interesting. It went into great detail of the Buddha's life. It was rather long and at times I found it a bit dry. I think this book is suited to those who have already studied Buddhism and want to know more about its history. Whilst it did touch on Buddhism in the secular age I felt like the title of the book was a little misleading. I was expecting more examples of the application of Buddhist philosophy and practise in a modern western environment.
I would only recommend this book to serious Buddhist heads

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 03-26-17

Excellent overview and history of Buddhism

This book is an inspiring, informative and discriminating account of the Buddha's teaching and recreation if his life and era.

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